For those of you who follow me on Twitter, this will be a topic you are familiar with. To start, no I do not hate Roman Josi or the Nashville Predators. I don’t hate any player or any team, because they are just guys who are payed to play a game and I can separate facts from emotion. I think the Predators are one of the best teams in the NHL with a smart management group who have a solid shot at winning a cup. I do not think Roman Josi makes this team any closer to winning a cup, in fact he is rather inconsequential.
First off, I think it’s only fair I point out the things Josi does well. Roman Josi is very good at helping his team generate shot attempts. Not high quality attempts granted, but enough that his team scores more goals when he is on the ice (by about 0.04/60). He is also good at preventing high quality chances against. While teams do get lots of shots on Pekka Rinne while Josi is out there, they usually aren’t great chances. Last but not least, Josi is one of the best offensive defenseman in the NHL. Both in terms of raw point totals (his last two seasons saw him net 61 and 55 respectively) and in terms of per 60 stats (his 1.15 points per 60 at even strength is good enough for 13th among defenders, just behind Kris Letang).
Where Roman Josi struggles is in the defensive aspects of the game. As I mentioned before, he is good at preventing high danger attempts against. But he is so bad at stopping the other team from peppering his net with shots that his team still allows quite a few more goals with him on the ice. He allows 11.56 shot attempts per 60 more than his teammates. That is a lot of shots. From this we can expect Josi to allow 0.23 more goals per 60 than his teammates. This is after we adjust for the offensive starts he receives. This means that every time that Josi is on the ice for 60 minutes, he costs his team 0.19 goals. Which means over the course of a season the Preds are worse off by a margin of 5.57 goals given he played 1,455 minutes. Generally speaking a “win” from a player’s perspective is recognized as ~6 goals. So playing Josi on the top pair actually costed the Predators 2 points in the standings.
Roman Josi is probably the most overrated player in the NHL and the Predators would be wise to trade him as he is probably best suited to a third pair, PP specialist role, not unlike Dennis Wideman.
Josi will likely be paired with PK Subban next season, which will definitely make for some exciting hockey. Neither of whom are particularly defensively minded. Perhaps Josi will see some improvement playing with one of the top defenders in the game, instead of the mediocre 2nd pair guy he was playing with before (Shea Weber is a story for another time). But if I’m David Poile, I’m calling every team and asking what their best offer is for Josi, and raking in an excellent return for a not very excellent player.